Five things causing headaches you didn’t realise you were doing!

By Dr Shinae Brownrigg

Headaches are commonly caused by tension. In fact it is the most common type of primary headache. The pain can radiate from the lower back of the head, the neck, eyes, or other muscle groups.

  • Clenching your jaw – During the day when we are busy getting things done we often clench our teeth as it can be a way of coping when we are busy getting things done under pressure. Try to consciously check if you are clenching throughout the day. Some common times include right before a deadline is due or when you are driving, possibly running late or in traffic.
  • Not getting a regular spinal check up – Doctors of Chiropractic recognize that a headache is the body’s warning alarm that pain may also be attributed to muscle tension and irritation of the nerves in the neck. The seven cervical vertebrae can become misaligned from excessive physical and emotional stress. This misalignment can irritate the nerve roots in the neck and may even cause minor constriction to some vessels which supply blood to the brain. When this happens, a headache can strike once, twice, and again and again. If not cared for, more serious symptoms may develop.
  • Letting your head hang forward or poor posture – The weight of your head is on average 5kg. That is five one litre milk bottles. If your head is hanging forward then that weight doubles for every 1nch forward so most people sitting at their laptop are holding up 20kg with their neck. Now just think about trying to lift 20kg for a long time with one arm and how tired your arm would get. This is causing some major tension to our neck muscles and can lead to a nasty headache.
  • Dehydration – Humans are made up of 80% water. Water is used in a huge amount of our daily bodily process and if not replenished can lead to headaches. Remember we are meant to drink approximately 2.5L of water a day to maintain a healthy hydration level. Did you know that during a 3 hour flight the average person loses 1.5L of water?
  • Eye strain – Being at a desk all day can cause eye strain and especially if you have your laptop on the desk. This is because it’s probably too low for your line of sight making your eyes and your neck work a lot harder. If you are meant to be wearing glasses make sure you are, even if it is for 20 mins because it can cause enough strain to trigger a headache. Be sure to get a check up at your optometrist if you are feeling line you are straining your eyes while reading.

Just because headaches are common doesn’t mean they are normal. Every headache has a cause. If we’re unable to find and correct the cause of your headaches, we can refer you to other specialists who may be able to help. Your health is our only goal.